Title: Let Me Die in Ireland
Author: David W. Bercot
Major Themes: England, Britain, Ireland, Saint Patrick
Synopsis: After being kidnapped from England as a boy and living as a slave in Ireland, Patrick thought he never wanted to see Ireland again—but God had other plans for him.
Some 20 years ago, I bought a few copies of Let Me Die in Ireland for my bookstore. I read one of them of course, because I had a policy of reading every book I sold so that I would know what it was like, and knew that it was one I wanted to read to my family someday. Well, the day finally came! A few weeks ago, I was reading our history lesson for the day, which was about Saint Patrick, and as I was reading I remembered this book—and also remembered that I needed to find a new read-aloud to go along with our history course! The book was patiently waiting on our shelf, so I went and pulled it off, and we started reading it that morning.
Patrick was only 16 when he was kidnapped from his home in England and taken to Ireland to be sold as a slave. He was very upset about this, as he was an upper-class Roman and had never even considered that such a thing could happen to him. He soon learned to know another British slave, who was a Christian, and after a long struggle, turned his life over to God—and then began praying and fasting for his freedom.
Eventually (you’ll have to read the book to find out how), he made his way back to Britain. He never wanted to see Ireland again! However, soon God put a burden on his heart to return and he began trying, but the British church stood in his way. As you know from history, he eventually made it back to that country, but the things that happened in the meantime make quite an interesting account.
David Bercot has studied Patrick’s own story of his life, as well as records from other historians of the period, to write this biography. Of course, all the dialogue is invented, but feels realistic, and I appreciated the many footnotes and the notes at the end of the book in which the author explained why he wrote it the way he did. If you are interested in either Patrick, or the end of Roman Britain, or Ireland, make sure you read Let Me Die in Ireland. It will not disappoint you.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults